After another evening of some of the best sleep we've ever gotten, six of us were up at 5:30 waiting to be picked up by Holly (CAMA Services) to go and plant some of the moringa trees.
For those that might not know, the moringa tree is a plant that is grown primarily in India. It grows very well in the tropical climates of Southeast Asia. The leaves and seeds from the trees can be used to make a powder that is then put into capsules to be consumed as an organic super-vitamin. Due to a lack of proper diet and malnutrition, the moringa tree is really a God-send for the Cambodian people. The Cambodian people are able to eat the leaves to gain the vitamins and minerals they need to survive.
We met up with Holly outside the YWAM base in Battambang and piled in to her little Toyota along with four of the Cambodian workers. The moringa orchard sits on five hectares of land an hour and a half outside of Battambang. The orchard itself had just been cleared and tilled, ready for us to start planting the saplings.
I've only been on one other international mission trip so I had an idea of what the work would be like, but from what I heard collectively from the group, planting those moringa trees was some of the hardest work they had done. Digging the holes for the saplings was the definition of back-breaking work but after each hole was dug, a sapling found a place to relax and set up its roots. We ended up planting 252 moringa trees in the orchard.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says:
"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." This team has a clear understanding of what it means to work hard on the things you enjoy, and work even harder on the things that you might not enjoy. As long as God is getting the glory from your hurting back, the sweat from your brow, and the dirt under your fingernails, all work is worth it.
Our work was also blessed by God. I'm able to say that with such confidence because prayers were answered in that orchard! In Cambodia I doubt that the temperature has dropped below 75, even at the latest part of the evening. The cloud coverage yesterday was unbelievable. There were moments where the sun was blocked by large groups of clouds for thirty minutes. There was also an incredible breeze that would have done the Ellensburg wind justice. It really did make us feel at home. Comments like "I'll never complain about the wind again" rang throughout the orchard. Bryce Toney and Kelsey Bankston prayed earnestly for good weather and God heard their calls. He made our yoke easy and bared the burden of the extreme Cambodian heat.
The last thing I want to hit on is what I noticed during our drive home. Being the rather portly gentleman that I am, I was able to ride shotgun to and from the orchard while three sat in the cab of the truck and six rode in the bed. I'm not really sure what the people in the back of the truck were doing, but as we drove by, the people that live in the villages would give the biggest smiles to our passing truck. I was able to see clearly their eyes light up as a truck full of white people smiling passed them by.
The Cambodians are an amazing group of people. It's very unfortunate that some missionaries entering into the "third world" think of the ones they are going to help as beneath or below them. They are just as much people as us living in the first world. They are people with families, jobs, needs, and dreams. We often find that we are being blessed as much, if not more, by the people we hope to bless.
Please pray for the moringa trees, Holly and the rest of our team. God is able and is working.